My rating: ★★★☆☆
Let me preface this by saying that I am not a paleontologist. I could not be further from being a paleontologist. I am not excruciatingly uninformed about dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals–and would even dare say that I know ever so slightly more than the average person–but bear in mind that it is entirely plausible that this book could contain outdated theories, misconceptions, or other forms of misinformation or mistakes that I, being reasonably ignorant on the subject of dinosaurs, would not be able to spot. That said, here’s my best shot at a review for this.
The Magic School Bus Flies with the Dinosaurs, being a Level 2 Scholastic Reader, features “vocabulary and sentence length for beginning readers” and is intended for very young children. According to the acknowledgements in the book, Carl Mehlina and Sean Mortha of the American Museum of Natural History in NYC supplied “their expert advice in preparing this manuscript”. So it is reasonable to assume that this book was scientifically accurate when it was published in 2005.
However, as I’m sure anyone can imagine, the progression of science didn’t exactly halt in 2005, and I’d hazard a guess that by now, something mentioned in this book has likely been affected by research newer than the book itself. If you’re terribly concerned about teaching your child only the most up-to-date dinosaur-related information, you would likely be better served by looking into books published more recently.
Anyway, the specific subject of The Magic School Bus Flies with the Dinosaurs is dinosaurs in relation to birds. When Ms. Frizzle’s class does reports on various dinosaurs, Dorothy Ann chooses to bring in her pet parrot; this sets the class on a time-traveling, prehistorical adventure to examine the link between a parrot and a dinosaur.
Dinosaurs and prehistoric birds mentioned or featured in the book are Stegosaurus, Tyrannosaurus, Jinzhousaurus, Triceratops, Pterosaur, Mei, and Caudipteryx, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Jeholornis, and Confuciusornis.
I’d tentatively recommend this book to parents reading to their children and/or children interested in dinosaurs or paleontology, as long as one bears in mind the potential for outdated information.